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DIGITAL MEDIA IN PRE-SCHOOL. THE ANALYSIS OF THE MULTIDISCIPLINAR RESEARCH PROJECT IN SAPIENZA UNIVERSITY OF ROME

I. Cortoni

Sapienza University of Rome (ITALY)
In the recent years, some American researches analysed how the digital consumption of children has been significantly moved up under 6 years old and, in some cases, under 2 years old. The precocious relationship with the digital media represents a delicate and complex topic of research and study in multidisciplinary fields, such as the sociological field.

The digital media can be considered cognitive and emotional stimuli that often are ignored and underestimated by every process of cultural mediation. For example the early usage of TV or DVD, for children under 1, probably contributes to bring forward the development of the intuitive intelligence of Piaget. This kind of intelligence grows from the imitation and assimilation through the symbolic representation at the base of the construction of the thought and of the perception of the reality.

Which are the more used digital media? Why and how are they used? What are the emotional, cognitive and behavioural consequences of the digital interaction of children in pre-school context?

These questions cued to plan and to manage a multidisciplinary research project in Sapienza University of Rome, Department in Communication and Social Research that is the focus of this paper. It starts from the analysis of the socialization in pre-school age to the construction of a map of network able to build connection between evolutionary development, style of digital consumption, strategies of socialization in family and cognitive stimulation.

The focus of the research is double:
1. analysing how the digital media can influence the development of competences in children 0-6 years old and how the digital media can improve the capabilities of children for action, exploration and manipulation, then knowledge and learning through the usage of ICT opportunities, especially the tablet.
2. Analysing the social capital of the family where styles of media consumptions are defined and developed: how the social and relational, educational and cultural background can influence the relationship of children with media? How the infrastructure, the technology, the financial and social sources influence the styles of consumption of children?
The paper is included in this framework and is focused on the illustration of the conceptual framework at the base of the research programme, deepening specifically the hypothesis, the methodology and the first results of the research.

References:
[1] Bus, A. G., Neuman, S. B. (a cura di) (2009) Multimedia and Literacy Development. Improving Achievement for Young Learners. New York: Routledge
[2] Clark L. S. (2013). The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age. NY: Oxford
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[4] Donohue, C. (a cura di) (2015) Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years. Tools for Teaching and Learning. New York: Taylor and Francis.
[5] Frith C. (2007), Inventare la mente. Come il cervello crea la nostra ita mentale, Raffaello Cortina, Milano, 2009.
[6] Gardner. H., Davis, K. (2013) The App Generation: How today's youth navigate identity, intimacy, and imagination in a digital world. New Haven, CT, US: Yale University Press, 2013.